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THE SIMPLE THINGS: 2022 HONDA HR-V

I’ll be honest, the last time I drove a sub-compact crossover this good, it was so impartible for the average consumer, that I always advised against purchasing one. Fortunately for Mazda, they stopped production on the CX-3 in 2021. It was so small inside it made a Smart ForTwo feel huge, but no other sub-ute could compete with its rigidity and handling; until now, with the all-new Honda HR-V.

Transitioning from the abstract design cues, this new HR-V is on the opposite end of the design language being a little more subtle. It is handsome, but forgettable in a station wagon, hatchback sort of look similar to the Civic except with a much better looking grille.

The HR-V is technically all new sharing the same undercarriage and 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine from the Civic. Tuned to be a city run-around, it produces 158-horsepower with 138lb-ft of torque paired with a Continuous Variable single-speed Transmission, which doesn’t sound very quick… and it isn’t. Taking nearly 10-seconds to achieve 60-mph the HR-V is dreadfully slow and quite buzzy at high rpm’s.

However, despite its slowness, it carries itself well with linear power delivery from the transmission. It manages to supply sufficient power when needing to overtake a slower driver; granted it still takes some planning to execute a pass, but its slowness isn’t so apparent at the flow of traffic. And because the HR-V shares many of its underpinning parts with the Civic, it has a level of enthusiasm from the responsive steering and a tautness to its chassis that one would typically find out of a Mazda. It just drives supremely well for a sub-compact crossover.

Since there are only three trim levels available starting with the LX at $23,650, the Sport and EX-L, seems as if they would be a better suitor with the 180-horsepower 1.5-liter turbocharged engine found in the Civic Touring, especially since the HR-V has an optional all-wheel drive system that makes it a much heavier vehicle. Especially considering its competitors have more powerful alternatives like the available 175-horsepower Kia Seltos, the Hyundai Kona with an available 201-horsepower engine and the insanely quick, but much more expensive Mazda CX-30 with an available 250-horsepower.

If you’re familiar with the interior of the Civic, you’ll find a lot of the same design ques within the HR-V. Who can blame Honda for using a photocopier, it is a well-executed interior after all. The design is simple and features a level of premium-ness you wouldn’t expect out of an economy crossover. Plus, there is plenty of techy features to cater to any generational consumer like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

The only drawback to the HR-V, besides its not-so-quick performance lies more with Honda than the HR-V. Like any modern vehicle, the HR-V has the latest hardware in safety technology with the Honda Sensing System – this system features forward emergency collision alert with brake assist, rear back-up brake assist, lane departure warning with lane assist, and adaptive cruise control. Where my con comes into play is through Honda’s adaptive cruise control, it is one of the most sensitive, irritating systems I have worked with. With the system settings set to its maximum following distance, it brakes aggressively too early and if we change the distance settings to, say, a level 2 or level 1 following distance, it thinks it’s about to crash, alerting the driver to apply the brakes and so does my brain, forcing myself to take over the braking. 

Overall, if you’re not always in a hurry, the all-new Honda HR-V is about as simple as one can get that carries an overall nice balance of drivability and comfortable, easy to manage interior that features technology that wouldn’t give you a headache to figure out with reasonable space for all passengers and their cargo.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Vehicle: 2022 Honda HR-V EX-L
Base Price: LX – $23,650 | Sport – $25,650
As-Tested Price: EX-L – $30,590
Engine: 2.0-liter 4-Cylinder
Horsepower | Torque: 158-Horsepower | 138 lb-ft of Torque
Transmission: CVT Automatic
Drivetrain: All-Wheel Drive
MPG: 25 | 30 | 27 (City | Highway | Combined)
As-Tested MPG: 24.3-MPG Combined
Fuel Range: 300 miles
0-60 MPH: ±10.0-seconds

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